Why Concrete is the Best Choice for Building Homes in a Hurricane Zone

This is a guest post that is informative and beneficial for many in the country. Jenny

Hurricanes are by no means a joke; their destructive nature should never be underestimated nor forgotten about for those looking to live on the Atlantic coast of the United States. From Florida to north of New Jersey, the hurricane knows no limits to its potential destructive power any more than it knows where it will make landfall. Hurricane Katrina, along with others has shown those that choose to live on the Gulf Coast that they are not beyond the reach of these unguided, wind-dominated Tasmanian Devils of destruction and are clearly not immune to their power.

While the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale measures the strength of these annual storms, the Aarne-Thompson Classification System places the story of the “Three Little Pigs” at a measure of 124 on the folktale scale. While it’s doubtful you’re unfamiliar with the story and hurricanes are not folk storms, the tale teaches fantastic lessons when it comes to building materials used in the path of something which wishes to blow your house down, be it by a wolf or an alphabetically named Atlantic storm.

As often as not, hurricanes ravage the islands of the Caribbean before setting their sites on the United States mainland and the use of thatch for building materials on many of these islands fares no better than the first pig’s choice of straw. While the anthropomorphic second pig fared much better than it’s straw using cousin(?) in its choice of wood, ultimately it did not stand up to Hurricane Wolfie. Stone, the third pig’s choice, however, stood up to the wolf’s winds and remained standing when the lupine storm lost its lungs and passed. Concrete, like stone, offers considerably more protection for those that wish to live in the potential path of ungodly gusts.

There is no question that concrete weathers the storm better than wood

 No right-minded concrete homeowner is going to revel in the destruction caused by a hurricane in his or her neighborhood. Concrete, ready mix plants continue to increase their client numbers since many future homeowners need and want a house that lasts. Those whose homes were built of wood, lost said homes or perhaps even their lives is not a laughing matter. Even without a loss of life, the loss of a lifetime or a home and the belongings it shelters is nothing to ever grin at even if Jim never returns the tools you’ve lent him. But, weathering the storm in a concrete home provides a security that wooden-framed homeowners will never enjoy.

At the danger of another damage inflicting hurricane, look at a neighborhood after the storm has hit, concrete homes remain standing while wooden-framed homes bring tears to the eyes. Just at a cursory glance it’s quite clear what anyone in the path of a hurricane should be living in order to see fewer repairs and a quicker payout from the issuers of their homeowners insurance policy.

Concrete just makes sense and Texas Tech agrees

Researchers at the Wind Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University have definitively shown that not only that the low-drag coefficients used in the design of most concrete homes will remain upright, but also keep inhabitants safe from the biggest danger to life when facing a hurricane and debris.

Wooden-framed homes are largely built with 4X4s and 2X4s, which quite literally become missiles given hurricane-force winds. Concrete not only protects those that still may be inside from these missiles, but it doesn’t shed it’s own debris that could ultimately affect others. A 2X4 flying at 100 miles-per-hour will cut through a wooden home like a hot knife through butter endangering its denizens. That same building material will not penetrate a concrete home.

Additionally, for those living directly on a coast, concrete provides an extra level of protection from rising seas and storm surges. A 15-foot wave propelled by the wind will literally destroy a wooden-framed home while concrete may withstand the onslaught whether built from formed-in-place concrete or concrete masonry.

Concrete homes needn’t be “ugly”

Quite simply, concrete provides the “nuts and bolts” and the framing of most houses. You’re not being asked to live in a cinder block home, just to rethink what foundation you wish to be sheltering in when the storm arrives, the damage is done, and the cleanup begins. In fact, you can beautify your home just by how you arrange your living room furniture.

Hurricanes strike densely populated areas because they strike where people wish to live. It’s part of the inherent danger in choosing to live near the ocean, smell the salt air and have your dream life whether as a first-time homebuyer or a someone moving from the frozen tundras of the Midwest, Great Plains, Alaska or other areas that generally see snow and cold each year. Then, there are the hurricanes on the coasts.

Following the destruction reaped by many a hurricane over the last three decades in the coastal United States builders, architects, and designers alike have recognized the strength and sensibility of concrete while acknowledging that people wish to hear “you have a lovely home” at their next dinner party and do their best to deliver these lovely dwellings that can stand up to Mother Nature.

Katrina Manning is a published author, content marketer and editor. With over eight years of career writing experience, she specializes in business, tech, lifestyle and digital marketing. Her favorite aspect of writing is the opportunity for constant learning. In her free time, she plays with her pets, volunteers and scours Instagram.

image:  Pixabay


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  1. Pingback: Crawl Space, Basement or Slab: Does It Matter? | Asian Lifestyle Design

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